Last night for reasons I don’t recall I had the occasion to “Google” socialism. It’s a pretty responsible definition .

Wikipedia, also, has a convoluted but responsible definition, Socialism is a political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production and workers’ self-management of enterprise, including the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.”

An image search of “Socialism,” however, brought up propaganda.

Socialism is NOT totalitarianism, and it’s not Communism. In my little world small-scale socialism is everywhere. One of the most successful business models in rural areas is the co-op. A couple examples from the San Luis Valley? Our rural electric company is a co-op, the local bookstore is a co-op, the store selling farming equipment is a co-op.

This disconnect annoys me. Here we are with many active socialist systems helping maintain the very vulnerable economy of the San Luis Valley. One of the most consistent, long-term employers in the Valley is La Puente. Here is the mission statement of this organization:

La Puente is our community’s response to address the effects of poverty by providing a safety net of services, where individuals and families get what they need to stabilize, heal, strengthen, and ultimately thrive.

This organization runs at least 3 businesses at a profit and profits are returned to the organization. BUT it’s kept afloat by support from donations from people in the Valley, foundations and tax dollars. It is socialism in action. Of course, this is VOLUNTARY socialism. No one HAS to join these co-ops. We’re not taxed for their existence.

Socialism in the United States — for which we’re taxed — includes schools, roads, infrastructure, emergency services, things which have been deemed so essential to the people that the government (which is WE the people) has determined that taxation should pay for them. My intensely, ideologically NON-socialist world has inflicted us with a one cent sales tax for the construction of a better exhibition and rodeo complex than we have now. We need it. The existing facility is really ugly and, some say, unsafe. The two main money-raising events in my little town are the Monte Vista Crane Festival and the Ski-Hi Stampede Fair and Rodeo — both held at the Ski-Hi Complex. The community voted for the tax and now the City Council is soliciting volunteers to monitor the money that comes in.


When I see Bernie up there, turning red and gesturing like a mad man yelling “Socialism!” I want to shout back, “Nobody knows what you’re talking about! The people whose votes you need think you’re a radical leftist commie scum!” His cluelessness irks me. Many people in places like this, people who voted for Trump, die-hard Republicans, also believe socialism is, always and inevitably, communist totalitarianism. Bernie doesn’t seem to understand we’re not involved in ideological warfare. It’s far more concrete than was the Cold War. He has to get votes. Having (as he does) Trump’s support should make his candidacy very suspect to voters. It’s, to me, a huge red-flag, “I want to run against Bernie because he won’t win.”

Watching the Democratic debates (for the second time) was also annoying. I think, by now, we know what they all stand for. What we don’t know is whether any of them have a stragedy for being Offal. A red-faced man of eighty screaming “Socialism!” is not the way to do it.

21 thoughts on “Socialism

  1. Well stated, Martha, and amen. In TN, we have open primaries so can freely choose which party we want to vote for. I’m sure I’ll probably end up supporting whoever the Democrats nominate, but for now, I’m going to vote in the Republican primary for Bill Weld and electors who are either committed to him or uncommitted in the hope of sticking a monkey wrench, however small, into the GOP’s works.

    • Bill Weld is essentially non-existent but I think any statement we make in the primaries is good for our souls. I went for Biden. Honestly, not my first choice, but he’s the only one who, I think, can fix the International relations mess we’re in. In the debates, they don’t talk about that enough. Plato was right when he said that no one who seeks public office should have it. 😦

  2. I agree. I wish it would be explained in a calmer, less intense way. perhaps it would be more welcomed and less people would be afraid of it.

  3. Well written, Martha.
    These misconceptions about socialism are all too similar to those about welfare. Like the farmers who slur those who rely on “welfare” programs like food stamps, school lunches, Aid for Families with Dependent Children, etc., but somehow don’t view their dirt-cheap allotments for grazing on gov’t land, the receipt of farm subsidies, or tax-break undervaluation of their land as welfare.
    We all benefit from both socialism and welfare in this country, to some extent or another.
    Maybe we should substitute “co-op” for “socialism” and see if attitudes change.

  4. This is excellent and I agree with what you’re saying. As a New Hampshire resident I am glad our primary is over. I went to see Bernie and his angry aggressiveness was a real turn off. Foreign relations was hardly mentioned in the speech. Enough already with his socialism lectures. As you say, people don’t generally even understand what it really means. The Dems have got to get their act together soon.

  5. Instead of the attractiveness of socialism as seen in cooperatives the common picture is an angry one as you say. It is hoped (from afar) America votes in a Democrat. Republicans have proved weak on principles too many times, thus allowing Trump liberties the Sun King wouldn’t have dared taken. Before the country votes it would be great if everyone could look out from their silos for an hour or so. As for Bernie, you have got what you have got, just go easy on the ageism though.

    • I’m too old to be ageist in that direction. I’d rather see a younger person, though. 80 is pushing it, one term at the most, I fear. I don’t understand the fascination with Trump. It’s really beyond my ken. 😦

      • Long ago I realised my children were much smarter than me. You have a couple of young candidates – shamefully it is obvious they have no chance. Given their youth and energy perhaps for the nation they deserve a go.

        • I like Buttigieg, but he is arrogant and inexperienced. It would be good if he could spend some time in DC and learn more about how things work. Klobuchar is, IMO, a great candidate. Biden is old but has the experience and reputation internationally to fix things quickly. Some say a Biden/Klobuchar ticket would be great. I honestly have NO idea what’s going to happen. Elizabeth Warren is a fighter and is experienced and is a caring person — but I don’t know what her international experience is. It matters because Trump has alienated all our allies with his arrogance and hostility. It’s a big scary mess.

          • Scary mess indeed. Mr B looks good on paper. I have had Republicans speak like Trump about Warren. I prefer to think of her as you do. Please voters just sort it out – fast.

            • that’s my prayer/hope every day that those candidates sort it out fast and get with a strategy to beat Trump and scream about socialism later, if they must. 😉

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